Monday, March 23, 2009

Another challenge?

I was looking at my DeLorme atlas yesterday. It is normally perched beside my computer. I actually have four atlases there, two AAA atlases and two DeLorme atlases. The two DeLormes cover all of California. I purchased them several years ago, quite possibly before I started geocaching. I use one of the AAA atlases for when I'm traveling and the other I use to scribble all over. Most of the scribbling is highlighting the roads that I've traveled on in my lifetime. It's an approximation, because I'm not sure of all of the ones when I was little, but it's a good guess. In case you're interested, here's a map of all of the counties in the United States that I've traveled in or through in my lifetime.

I've been having some Internet problems and I finally got fed up with them on Saturday and pretty much solved the problem by upgrading my modem for my DSL line. Installing this, I had to pull out parts of the computer desk and one of the things that had to be moved were the atlases. When I put them back, I looked at them, mainly because my daughter had used them two weeks ago when she was here with a couple of her friends. They'd used them as their primary map for Southern California when they went to visit Hollywood. I decided to look at it to see whether it would have been helpful to them or not. On that verdict, I'm not sure what the outcome would be, but they didn't get lost, so I guess it was useful.

As I looked over the Southern and Central section atlas, my mind started to wander to this particular geocaching challenge that I'd heard of, but hadn't really given much thought of attempting. I kept thinking to myself, that I really didn't need another challenge, but then I also kept thinking as I perused the pages, things like, "I've found one on that page, oh and also on that page!" So I started counting them up and came up with 57 pages where I've already found caches. According to the cache page, there's 110 pages where I'd have to find a cache, so I'm already half way there without even trying.

Of course, the pages where I don't have cache finds are the ones that are the most remote. Many are out in the desert to the east of me, or in the Sierra Nevada, or in the middle of farm country in the central valley of California. There are several pages that will require some extensive planning in order to find a cache. This challenge is definitely more of a challenge than the 58 county challenge is. With the county challenge, driving the roads through the counties will work, because there's always caches hidden alongside highways and byways. With the DeLorme challenge, there's not necessarily a road within the map boundary, which means hiking.

As I looked over the atlas, I realized this could be too much on my plate at one time. My original goal was to finish the California County Challenge. I don't want to give that up just to switch to a new challenge. What I think I'm going to do is to continue the county challenge, but keep the DeLorme challenge in the back of my mind. Other map pages will be found as I work my way around the state. I think it also gives me new incentives to explore other areas of the state that I haven't done before. Of course, as I begin working on the counties in Northern California, then the Northern California DeLorme challenge comes into play as well. Together, these three challenges together will create a nice diversion for me and keep me busy caching for many more years. I can deal with that.

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1 comment:

chaosmanor said...

And you haven't even scratched the surface of the challenges! There's at least one that requires you to find a cache in each of the 50 states: GCRFNN. There's one that requires you to find one of every different combination of Terrain and Difficulty level: GC11E8N. This one requires you to find 81 caches, from a 1/1 to a 5/5, and every other gradation in between; we're a little over halfway there. On the Every State one, we have three :-\

And then there are the local challenges. We have two of them in the Santa Monica Mountains, which run from southeastern Ventura County along the Malibu coast to the Hollywood Hills.

One of the challenges (GC18DXW) is a history one; you have to get all of the caches still active in the Santa Monica Mountains that were planted in the first three years of geocaching, i.e. before May 3rd, 2003. There are currently 64 of them; we have about 40. Actually, you can pick any two to not get; this allows folks a little leeway. For example, those (like us!) who cannot climb up rock walls using ropes can pass on the two that require that.

The other challenge (GC1C4Y4) requires finding every cache along the Backbone Trail, which runs for nearly 70 miles from Point Mugu to Will Rogers State Historical Park. Had this cache been up three years ago, we would have qualified, as we hiked the entire BBT then, and got almost every cache on it: about 20. Now, we're way behind, as there are nearly 100. Of course, we own almost a dozen of those, having hidden a number of caches on the Ray Miller Trail, at the eastern end :-) Every time a new cache is added, the total needed to complete the challenge goes up by one, but you have three months to finish the challenge before that new one counts against you. According to the official log, we have 43 qualifying finds.

As for the CA Counties challenge, we need 15 Counties, most of them in the northern Sierra Nevada.

I've been toying with an idea for a Ventura County Challenge, either using Thomas Bros. page numbers, or Zip Codes. Either way, the final would be in the Santa Ynez Mountains, after a hike of at least a mile.

I have no intention of worrying about the DeLorme challenges, even though we probably have half or more of the pages in the South/Central CA one. Actually, we probably only have a third of them, as we've done little caching in Orange and San Diego Counties. But we have a fair number of finds in Santa Barbara, SLO and Kern.

Overall, I like the challenges. We might never finish one of them, but they are good goals to reach for. A geocacher's reach should always exceed his or her grasp ;-)